Thursday, October 30, 2014

3 Powerful Principles so You can Change the Nation

As a Christian going to the polls, you must make wise judgments. Many questions can be raised such as: who do I vote for and what should you do when both candidates are not desirous? However, first we must elucidate our foundation as Christians by stepping back to see the big picture then I would like to answer the two questions above.

What About The First Christians?

We already talked about Christians and voting (click here). A glaring omission from that post is the fact that during Christianity's first few centuries, Christians did not desire political office nor did they assume national leadership positions. They had a bigger goal, the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom knew no national border, it was cross culture with citizens established worldwide and whose king was Christ. With this approach they were able to change the world within a few hundred years!

Modern Times

Fast forward to modern times, many nations once held many professors of Christ and some even tried to erect a “Christian” state. Compromises were usually made that came at the cost of following Christ. In the end they failed.

Many have also become disillusioned by nominal Christians - living hypocritically and abstaining from Christ’s teachings. Both non-biblical and un-biblical rules have taken center stage. Other times Christ’s teachings are waved as being for a different time. Progeny have fallen away and now are anti-Christian because parents and churches have have not trained them. The focus was not the Kingdom of God, but rather their own lives, their own preoccupations and their own frivolous enjoyments and many times sins.

Our Primary Step

To change the state, nation and world, we must first disciple followers of Christ everywhere for a closer walk with God. If we just apply the Scriptural precepts we understand, we’ll have a busy occupation indeed. We all understand that we are to love God with everything and our neighbour as ourself. If we love all, we will not steal, lie nor commit sexual immorality.

Legislating morality is the business of the government. If all professors of Christ were focused on the Kingdom of God, for many areas the legislation of morality would almost be a silly. Our greatest potential for changing a nation and the world is for each one of us to put Christ back on the throne as king.

Christ and the apostles never taught that we need to be all distressed about leadership – again they had a bigger and more important goal. Remember, Christians weren't originally in national and state governmental leadership. A non-Christian leader is not abnormal - the early Christians changed the world without even one position of senator or emperor. They changed it by their lives and obeying Christ!

Pick The One Who Can Do The Greatest Good

With that as our grounding, let’s switch gears to the topic of voting. Should we vote for one who does not hold to all the proper views? Consider this dilemma, there are two main contenders who we disagree with, in fact both are atheists and believe the same except on the issue of abortion. Abortion, the unjustified taking of an innocent human life, is murder and sin. With the responsibility for action, your best choice is obvious, the one who supports sanctity of life.

Chose The One Who Has The Best Chance

What if three candidates are running for an office, one is outright opposed to good, one who is mediocre but much better than the first and the last is desirable in almost every point. In addition, the the real competition is between the first two, either could obtain the seat. The third has only very low polling results.

Just like in many other situations in life, perfect can sometimes be the enemy of good - diminishing returns is increased when we hold out for the best. The best usually never comes, may not work and itself may have intrinsic failures when we mortal beings are involved. A vote for the perfect potential who has no hope of attaining the post would be squandering our lot to the one who holds the most evil position.

A Call To Action!

So how do we change a nation? First it starts with us, our family and our Christian fellowships. We need biblical grounding, a life that is prayer bound and holiness in our life. We need a drive to share with others. When we live in a land where we are given the responsibility to vote, do it with joy and justice. Wisdom, knowledge and judgement are key so we can live in freedom and peace. This enables us to worship God according the Bible and so we can spread the gospel. But always remember, we have a bigger cause, a bigger vision, a bigger kingdom – The Kingdom of God!

What do you think? 

Image source: Compilation from image from Flicker/ NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Should A Christian Vote?

"Britain’s official education inspector has informed an independent Christian school that it is out of step with “British values” prescribed by the government and must invite someone from another faith, such as a Muslim imam, to lead assemblies or it risks being closed" (1).

News stories like this are seemingly becoming more common - strange and anti-Christian. It seems that some in national leadership have been taken in by the cry for tolerance, but uphold intolerance to Christians.

How do we decrease this type of rhetoric? There are many things that come to mind, like engaging both society and our progeny for Christ. We aught to be living as Christ taught and obeying him. Pray for the leadership as Paul instructed in 1 Timothy 2:2-4 so we can “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” The reason Paul gives is so all men may be saved and know the truth. When people in society are saved and know truth, this type of activity will be greatly diminished.

Should we vote?

So what about voting? Some Christians feel we should not vote - others feel we should. One group says we should just pray, the other asserts prayer with voting.

However, the new testament writers say nothing on the topic of voting - nothing at all. One can’t make a lucid case based upon a command from Scripture, in other words one view can’t be more biblical than the other in this regard. To me, it is suspect when one tries to make a hard biblical claim on this when the Bible does not even talk this subject. If this topic was so important, why didn't Christ and the apostles talk about it? While voting may not have been like today's, God is omniscient, he would have talked about it if he wanted. On the other hand, from the perspective of precepts and principles, the Bible does speak.

In the thirteenth chapter of Romans, Paul states “Wherefore ye must needs be subject [to leaders], not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” We see a responsibility to be subject to state leadership, paying taxes (Jesus also says this in Matthew 22:21) and respect them. Many governments not only give the freedom to vote, but also tell us it is our responsibility. When we vote, we aren't trespassing any biblical command, so this is not a case of “obeying God rather than man,” since God has not specified a command in this area.

Actions with prayer

James, in the second chapter of his book, verses 14-18 says this: “ What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

Just as we see that being a Christian takes more than just faith, such as our actions and obedience, so one can make a case for prayer and actions when it comes to governmental leadership. When we vote for good leadership, we have a chance to do good, so we should. We have the opportunity to make a difference, a positive one, let’s jump at the opportunity.

What about being of this world?

But, I hear some say “aren't we supposed to not be of the world”? speaking in this sense of being part of a earthly government. While that is a good question, it is a different one and needs to be answered at a different time, that question has nothing to do with what we are talking about here. For example, while at one college, I walked past a table where one could vote for a new school logo. Even though I really didn't care, I picked the one that I liked and moved on. However, I was not part of the school government nor even leadership at the school.

Our greater focus

However, on the other hand, I'm concerned for some, they worry and stress over this, even when there's nothing else they can do. We are taught to not worry in Philippians but rather we need to focus on the kingdom of God. We can get caught up in politics and miss people, miss living a righteous life and being a godly example. We need to be out doing good for others and telling them about the Kingdom.

By default, we are "temporary citizens" of our country of birth, and have responsibilities because of it. We need to pay taxes, obey the laws and vote because the leaders ask that of us. However, getting caught up in the rhetoric, slandering and backbiting should be far from us. Nor should we get absorbed in the concerns that take all of our time. Like elaborate houses, expensive cars and extravagant vacations, it's a wrong focus. Excessive involvement in sports such as hunting, fishing, football, and golfing can also take us away from following Christ. We have a greater calling, a heavenly Kingdom, and heavenly work to do!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Should Christians Bury Their Head in the Sand?

The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was a list of banned books by the Roman Catholic church from centuries ago. It included two notable books: Johannes Kepler's Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae, which was on the index from 1621 to 1835. The second notable book was, in various editions of the index, some translations and editions of the Bible. Now I’m not going to judge them for what they did at that time, however, looking back, it must be an embarrassment. For us, we too have some who want to "ban books." However, instead of "banning books", maybe a stronger approach would be to educate people on truth, wisdom and common deviations from the truth. This will help arm the common follower of Christ prevent deception.

To build a foundation, I want to note that in a previous post I gave some steps to deflect brainwashing - including knowing truth and intentionally building a broad background in different works (click here). When one puts undue faith on one or even a small group of men or women for opinions, there is impending disaster. In another post on technology, I noted how to bolster oneself against online deception - knowing truth and understanding good sources (click here). Lastly, I noted in a training post that one needs to disciple oneself, or others with, what I called, inoculation (click here).

Just as some parents have concerns about diverse perspectives attacking their children, some leaders of Christian fellowships have the same concern -- for real reasons. However, just as in my previous post on inoculation, isolation is not the key to growth. It makes one much more vulnerable to deception. Isolation is not the key to purity in teaching, but rather it’s the road to a weak or an absent spiritual immune system. Knowing truth and having wisdom is like having a healthy body and nutritious food. When a healthy body is inoculated the body prepares for the defenses. When arguments do present themselves against truth, one will already have heard and been prepared to succinctly and efficiently counter the arguments -- in both one's mind and verbally if needed.

When I hear about Christian leaders insisting that only limited texts and literature is advised, or that one should not read things outside of a certain gathering, red flags raise and concerns accumulate in my mind. This is for two reasons. Just like in III John, we read of one Diotrephes who loved dominance and control or as it is put “preeminence”, it seems that some in our time may desire the same. is that one will not be prepared for the attacks that are increasing every day, they are coming closer to even the sheltered believer. Many types of literature help give rejoinders against the bad arguments that attack the follower of Christ. After one knows the truth and has a strong mind, one needs to sit down and compare what is being said in society to the truth. This can’t be done if one positions one’s self in a vacuum. In addition, not knowing also hampers ones ability to answer the skeptic.

Why would we allow ourselves to be sidelined by weak arguments when we have good sources and arguments to demonstrate they these fail? Maybe we ourselves will not succumb, but what about our children and grandchildren?

The Bereans, in Acts 17, were praised when they listened and then searched out whether or not the Apostles were speaking truth. It's not if one will be presented with dubious arguments against their faith, it's when. The best time to form rejoinders is when one has time to read and think. In this case, the best defense is a good offense, not hunkering down with the "head in the sand".

You will not want to miss the next posts. If you found this one helpful, you will want to keep an eye open for others. The best way is to click here, because you can get them straight to your inbox so you don’t miss out! (Click here.)

What do you think? Can you give any examples when you were prepared the give a defense in your own mind or to another? How did you prepare?

Image source: Flicker/Peter

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Call To Action

As a troop with no training, as a military with no will, as a soldier who has dropped his weapons for naught, many Christians have grown strong in apathy. Many shun dialogue, promote the degenerate view of ignorance as a higher plane of spirituality and simple faith is touted as turning a blind eye to knowledge and clarity. Spiritual weapons are dropped and shunned. Backs are turned, society is not engage and Christ's teachings are not defended.

Christian intrawars on silly topics of culture and topics Christ must have overlooked have taken precedence. Just mentioning some of these topics, even here, would cause a stir. Extra biblical rules are demanded and biblical commands are left ignored. Gossip is king, gain is godliness and the focus on self is the preoccupation.

A call to to clarity goes out! Ignorance is not a virtue. Truth has not been debunked. Let's change our concentration! Let's get active.

Grow in knowledge. Know the truth. Be bold and intentional. Grow in obedience and righteousness. Increase in love.

Read. Write. Speak. Interact. Dialogue.

Go out there and give them heaven!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Is Raw Milk Dangerous?

I know I'm deviating from my usual content, but this is science related and there is much public rhetoric about this topic. This is about raw milk. My state's department of public health is trying to increase rules and regulations for the implantation of raw milk sales. I am concerned with this attempt. To set the stage, I want give my credentials and background. Then I want to assess the danger. Lastly, I want to talk about how to impair the growth of milk-borne pathogens.

My background

I have not only drunk unpasteurized milk at times in my life, but I know many who do and have drunk it. One of my parents grew up on a dairy farm, thus drinking raw milk through childhood. Over the years I have known many milk producers, I have helped milk cows on many different farms. In addition to the hands on and practical experiences, my graduate degree is in biology, and I have taught college classes in microbiology, human anatomy and physiology, and general biology.

Is it that dangerous?

Any biologist, who reads the literature, would have to agree that unpasteurized milk can be dangerous and there is a measure of concern. However, while reading through my state's health department's new rules and reading other related technical journal articles on this subject, I'm skeptical of some things that are being presented.

Of all the people I know who have, and do drink raw milk, I have only heard of one unconfirmed case of illness attributed to raw milk. To put this in perspective, if one would average all the raw milk illness cases between 1993-2006 in the United States, and look at how many people got sick from raw milk, my anecdotal experiences would accurately reflect the results (1). After calculating the numbers, the chances of one coming down with a raw milk related illness in any given year is about 1/30,000 people (these are only people who drink raw milk, not the general population). Compare this to food related illness such as from meat. Approximately the chances of one getting sick from contaminated food is about 1 out of 4 people each year (2). In addition, I have known many who have gotten sick from fast food.

So is there an issue with raw milk? Yes, especially if not properly gathered, prepared and stored. This goes with both pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. Let me cover some very foundational aspects of milk safety.

Healthy animals

Farmers not only need healthy animals, they want them. Most go to great lengths for this. Lactating animals are expensive - unhealthy animals ultimately cost more for care. Most farmers like animals, that's why they farm. Most raw milk producers are small scale farmers, they are especially concerned because of the high investment cost per animal. When one knows the farmer and visits the farm for raw milk pickup, it gives the consumer a better opportunity to make sure the animals are healthy. Quality of the milk increases if the cow is properly feed, has clean water and has a proper bovine environment.

Microbial contamination prevention 

Prevention of microbial contamination in the milk is also essential. The miking area needs to be well washed and dried before milking. A barn will never be as clean as a house, nor a cow as clean as a person. However, the animal should be clean using the proper methods and standards that farmers use. All dairy farmers filter the milk to remove contaminants and reserves of microbial contamination. This is done (and should be done) immediately after milking. Most farmers ingests the milk themselves, he or she wants safe milk as well as anyone else.

Storage of milk

The last, but very important aspect of safe milk safety is refrigeration and storage. The milk container needs to be food grade, clean and easily to be cleaned. In addition, proper temperature is needed for milk storage (under 41 degrees Fahrenheit). It needs to be fresh from the farmer's refrigerator. The milk needs to be sold on the farm, not at a grocery store. When one goes to the farm to pick it up, one will have more knowledge how it was produced, cared for and stored. Just like any pasteurized milk, old milk poses a danger. Milk needs to be discarded if it is older than a week to a week and a half in age or if one questions its safety. After a week or so the chances increase for harmful bacterial growth.


No, raw milk is not anymore dangerous than anything else if one uses proper methods. As a farmer or consumer, you have to be knowledgeable and educated. The more you know, the less likely you will be led amiss.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any other pointers? Do you know of any stories of one coming down with illness from raw milk?

(1) Langer AJ, Ayers T, Grass J, Lynch M, Angulo FJ, Mahon BE. Nonpasteurized dairy products, disease outbreaks, and state laws-United States, 1993–2006. Emerg Infect Dis. 2012;18:385–91 10.3201/eid1803.111370


Thursday, October 2, 2014

I’m No Luddite, But I Do Have Some Concerns With Technology

In a previous post, I acknowledged arguments that some Christians give in opposition to new technology (Click here). In that post, I elucidate a double standard on technology and dismantle each argument. It seems that in the cross-hairs of some resides the cell phone, ebooks, social networking and the internet. Even though I’m no luddite, I do understand the risks and have concerns. When wisdom, knowledge and priorities are not grounded, there is real abuse and hurt. There are at least four major concern categories when discussing novel technology: deception, security, health and social issues.

Immorality and deceptive content.

As technology advances, it gains greater capabilities to give much more power to those who uses and design them. Much harm can be done by the promotion of immorality - this is near the top of my concerns. Immorality abounds, if one is tempted by it, there are at least two steps that need to be taken, first are internet filters - thus filter out undesired content. The second is accountability. If these are not options and if there are real issues, refraining from its use is the best option.

Because of the free and organic nature of some technology, anyone can upload content online. Content may be true or untrue. One has to be discerning, knowledgeable and wise. We need to discern legitimate sources, understand primary sources and learn proper methods of research. This is not a proposition for isolation, but rather encouragement for growth in knowledge, wisdom and discernment. As we become more sensitive to good and proper thinking skills, and grounding, we will be less likely to fall into the trap of deceptive information.

Security and privacy

Security and privacy are also great concerns. From those who are just nosy, to the malicious activities of thieves and hackers, to the government intrusion and control - all cause unease. Even though it sounds simplistic, it is true - the best measures one can take is being careful. Being circumspect what gets posted online and what links you press is essential. The use of diverse, but strong passwords, proper software updates along with security software, are all essential.


I can think of a number of health concerns that can be caused by the abuse of some contemporary technology. This list includes possible eye issues, addiction, radiation, body poster issues and exacerbation of carpal tunnel syndrome. Case in point, here's a story of a man texting his girlfriend too much and caused problems for his eyes.


The social aspect can take on many different forms. First, many try to keep up with the rest of society. They want the latest and greatest. It becomes a tool for the feeling of affluence, this mentality is the cause of much money wasted. The entitlement mentality is encouraged - making one forget that it's just a want, not a need.

Along with money waster, there is a time wasting component. Some can get almost addicted to pieces of technology which leads to dependence and much wasted time.

Lastly, the lack of true human interaction can lead to loneliness - even with social networking. Sometimes we need to get out and be with people. This will decrease one’s dependence on a device.

The final focus

As a follower of Christ, we want to be concerned about all of these things. We want to shun immorality, deception, causing others to stumble by what we post or write, and be wise with the body that God gave us. Concerns with most of theses issues are not just isolated with digital technology, even old paper and print technology are susceptible to this as well. But beyond that, what is our focus? Is it to keep up with the latest and greatest? Is it to waste money and time? What about our calling? What about the work of the Kingdom?

Your thoughts.

Can you think of any other real concerns? How can we use technology to have a greater impact on others?

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